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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  October 25, 2011 2:00am-3:00am EDT

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for joining us tonight. >> thank you for having me. you can have the last word online on our blog. you can follow my tweets. "hardball" with chris matthews is up next. rick perry goes birther. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews out in phoenix, arizona. leading off tonight, birtherism reborn. in the last few weeks, rick perry has dropped to single digits in the polls after enjoying a double-digit lead. so how did he boost your approval ratings when every debate sends you further in the dumps? you dig up an old, moldy, discredited charge that still has resonance with the right
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wing, birtherism. rick perry says it's not definitive that barack obama was born here in the u.s. rick perry and birtherism, the last vestige of a desperate candidate who hopes to survive that tops our show tonight. also, which republican presidential candidate back in 1996 called the flat tax, quote, a tax cut for fat cats? and which republican presidential candidate now says, quote, i love the flat tax. the answer to both questions is -- you bet, you guessed it -- mitt romney. romney is just the latest member of the republican parade to shift the tax burden from the wealthy to the middle class. plus, had enough of republicans just saying no to anything president obama wants? so has the president. he's begun a new campaign, we can't wait, that's what it's called. as in, we can't wait for congress to act. the president plans unilateral executive branch actions to boost the economy. he kicks it off today in nevada to help struggling homeowners
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hang on to their houses. and a new poll shows the country's overwhelming support for the sentiments of those wall street occupiers. let me finish tonight with an easy way to understand the evils on wall street. we start with rick perry gone birther. david corn's an msnbc political analyst and mother jones washington bureau chief. and we're also joined by wayne slater. thank you, gentlemen, for joining us. here's a portion of that parade interview, "parade" magazine interview that ran this sunday, it's catching a lot of attention. in a q&a in the article, lynn sheer asks the governor some questions. governor, do you believe that president barack obama was born in the united states? perry responded, i have no reason to think otherwise. that's not a definitive, yes, i believe he -- rick perry, well, i don't have a definitive answer, because he's never seen my birth certificate. question, but you've seen his. perry, i don't know, have i? question, you don't believe
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what's been released? perry, i don't know. i had dinner with donald trump the other night. question, and? perry, that came up. question, and he said? perry, he doesn't think it's real. and you said? perry, i don't have any idea. it doesn't matter. he's the president of the united states and he's elected. it's a distractive issue. well, there we go. rick perry has ripped the scab off this issue by saying he doesn't really believe the president was born here. i want to go to wayne slater. what crowd is this guy back in the double digits trying to appeal to? >> you suggested it in the intro. what part of the resurrection of the birther issue is going to cause him problems in western iowa, in western carolina, in the redneck riviera, in florida, it's not going to cause him any problems at all. >> why not? >> well, basically, what he's got to do, as you know, appeal
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to those people who are not going to be with romney. pull people away from cain, so do it with abortion. pull people away from everybody else. so what you do is resurrect the crowd on the right. and that includes both the anti-abortion people, the anti-gay marriage people, but also the birthers. the secessionists, the militia. basically the marginalia of the religious right and social right in the republican party. dave carney and the rick perry team believe that mathematically, that that is their only way. if they can coalesce all of these disparate interests who are not the mitt romney folks and there's no better way to do that than fall under the spell of the donald, and to start talking about birtherism. >> ah! let's go to david corn on that, because it's a hoot. i mean, he's treating donald trump like some sort of figure who can verify the truth on matters political. i mean, the guy showed us his birth certificate.
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it was embarrassing enough the president of the united states has to show his papers, like he's being stopped at a checkpoint, but to do it and then have somebody who's actually a governor of a state saying, i don't really believe this guy's papers. what's he think, he's an illegal alien? does he think he's one of these guys he calls aliens? that he ought to be illegal. that's what he's saying. if he wasn't born here and never went through naturalization or didn't go through a green card process, it's one or the other. here's a guy making the charge that he might be the other. >> here's rick perry, we see him going for both the flat tax and this flat earth theory. the republicans can't escape the gravitational pull of profound anti-obamaism. you know, every time this gets knocked away, somebody comes along and suggests, wink, wink, nod, nod, as wayne just said, that maybe there's still something to this story. donald trump was out there last week, too, with michele bachmann holding a tele-town hall, in
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which he was going on, not so much about birtherism, but other things, other conspiracy theories about the war in libya. so i don't know what magnetic pull he has on these far-right candidates. this is a guy who was actually more a democrat a few years ago than a republican, but they just can't resist the lure of donald trump or the lure of obama the other, obama the alien, whether it's birtherism, or it's the fact that he doesn't like this country, he's not truly an american. they just can't let that theme go, because it's just too powerful for too much of their base. >> you know, what's really humiliating here is a guy who's elected by the people of texas, for whatever you think of his politics, he's an elected official of a major state. he goes trooping up to new york, mentally, not just physically, but mentally treating donald trump as the guy who decides what the truth is on whether the president of the united states is an american or not, an american-born american. why would he treat trump as his expert?
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why would he look up to those big, tall buildings in new york with such profound humility and think one of the guys who built those high buildings knows more about that obama's legitimacy as an american than he does? that's my question to you, wayne. why is he so intellectually humble as to bow before donald trump and say, he's my expert on whether a person's an american or not, including the president? why's he do that? >> because -- look. trump, he saw, we all what happened to donald trump for a couple of weeks. the moment that he both disgraced himself by talking about birtherism, but in the opening couple of weeks, made himself a skyrocket, rocketed to the top of consideration among this, the folks on the far right. perry sees that as an opportunity. look, they understand very well that mitt romney has topped out, they believe, around 25, 30%. all they have to do is coalesce other folks around him.
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and those folks, those most active constituents who are going to show up at the caucuses in iowa, who are going to show up in south carolina, are exactly the people who still think that obama is the other, and who still think that, as extraordinary as this may seem, you go out there and talk to folks, that donald trump is a kind of sage and expert who will talk directly to people. i know! talk directly to people and say the truth. >> okay. i mean, when i went to new york the first couple of times, and i still do this as an out-of-towner, i do look up at the tall buildings, but i realize people in new york are no different than the rest. they have bigger money in some cases. but the idea that they're sharper -- let's take a look. since the president released his long-form birth certificate out of hawaii, the number of republicans believe he was born outside of the united states has dropped, but -- here's the big b-u-t, but, still one in four believe he could have been born in another country. 23% believe he was definitely or probably born in another
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country. another country. nobody can figure out the physical nature of how he did all this trick. a reverse houdini that comes from somewhere else. 43% are willing to say he was born here. it's just to me, profound. i'm sorry, 40-some percent. >> this gets to the heart of a big problem in our political discourse. which is, evidence, facts don't matter. people will respond to a question like that based on what they feel, what they hope, rather than what the evidence is before them. there's no reason for anyone to believe that, let alone 23% of the republican party. it is a measure of their profound antipathy toward the president, that -- ask them if he's a muslim. ask them if they believe there's a satanic agenda to what he's doing and you'll probably get between 10% and 25%. and that's -- at the beginning of the story, you and i talked about this, there was a bloc of
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republican primary voters who wanted somebody out there who they could relate to emotionally with the anger they had towards obama. you know, mitt romney isn't that guy. let alone the positions, whether he's conservative enough, whether he's flip-flopped or not, he doesn't feel their anger. and michele bachmann, donald trump, herman cain, rick perry, they've all tried to capitalize on that. no one has done it, you know, in a sustainable way yet, and now here comes rick perry again, for the second bite at that poisonous apple. >> well, let's take a look at the latest poll numbers that explain rick perry's desperation, here, his desperado move of going back to birtherism. he's been dropping -- i've never seen a candidate drop, i don't think, this fast in a long time. the latest cnn/opinion research poll, he's dropped nearly 20 points since just last month. cain has picked up all those 20 points. this must drive him crazy, wayne. here's a guy with no political background, a very -- i mean, obviously, a smart guy, with no political baggage at all, and
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here's a guy who's been governor of the big state of texas all these years. good-looking guy. younger, healthier, probably, than mr. cain. and yet cain is eating his lunch. >> yeah. look, to be serious, it doesn't just drive rick perry crazy, it drives anita perry crazy, and she is the one person who can talk to the governor. i'm serious. and she talked to the governor just recently, and said, you got to do something about this. she's very, very unhappy with the trajectory of the campaign, as anybody would be, and they are making changes. that's why we have seen nelson warfield and others being brought in. and as of today, rick perry has personally, after anita talked to him, anita perry, his wife, talked to him, called joe alba, who ran the operation, be sure the trains ran on time, the organization of george bush 11 years ago, in the 2000 presidential race, and asked alba to come on board and take over the campaign, which he is going to do. so they understand that they have a problem.
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>> he also -- he also ran fema during katrina, right, wayne? >> no, he ran katrina -- he ran fema right before katrina. he had the good -- >> no, don't -- >> -- wisdom to leave and become a private consultant. >> the interesting thing -- >> great job, brownie. >> the guys that rick perry picked up, a lot of them worked for rick scott, the governor of florida. now, remember, rick scott was head of a company that was charged $1.7 billion in fines and damages for defrauding medicare. and they got that guy elected governor. so if i were mitt romney, or somebody else, and saw these guys coming into rick perry's camp, i would say, maybe this guy does have a second chance here. we ought to be worried about a perry bounce. >> well, i just think it's great that the guy who's head of disaster relief for "w" has now come in to solve the problems of rick perry. perfect job for a disaster expert. thank you very much, david corn.
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birtherism, it's not the prettiest face of america. thank you, wayne, for getting to the roots of this guy. coming up, herman cain's got his 9-9-9 plan, of course, and rick perry is pushing now a flat tax. and now mitt romney once called a flat tax a tax cut for fat cats is warming up to the idea. these people are other directed, they lean to the right on everything. the republicans are looking to shift the tax burden, it seems, from people with a lot of money to the people with far less money, the middle class. what's this about politically? does the gop risk reinforcing its image? as to use mitt romney's phrase, the party of fat cats. that's ahead. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. it fits! fantastic! [ woman 2] ring ring progresso. they fit! awesome thank you ring, ring [ man ] pro-gresso they fit! okay-y... okay??? you don't understand. i've been eating progresso because there's... 40 flavors 100 calories or less
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and now my favorite old okay is there a woman i can talk to? [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup. dr. scholl's custom fit orthotic center recommends the custom-fit orthotic that's best for your tired feet. foot-care scientists are behind it. you'll get all-day relief. for your tired achy feet. for locations, see thank you... a new poll finds americans want to ditch the electoral college for a popular vote system by a margin now of 2 to 1. gallup found 62% support a constitutional amendment now that would allow the winner of the popular vote in this country
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to win the white house. only 35% say keep the electoral college. this is a big change. the poll also found that for the first time ever, a majority of republicans want to dump the electoral college as well as democrats. we'll be right back.
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welcome back to "hardball." back in 1996, not a million years ago, steve forbes ran for president on the idea of imposing a flat tax, where every american, except the very poor, would be taxed at the same 17% rate. how'd that work out for him? well, he finished fourth place in both iowa and new hampshire. the reality of a flat tax, however, doesn't seem to sit well with most americans. look at these gallup numbers from last month. 66% of americans favor increasing taxes on individuals making more than $200,000. only 32% oppose that, and 70% favor raising taxes on corporations by eliminating loopholes. and yet the republican party in 2011, right now, is moving toward embracing the flat tax idea.
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herman cain, for example, backs his 9-9-9 plan, which would impose a flat 9% income tax on americans, an additional 9% national sales tax. rick perry tomorrow will unveil his own tax plan, which he says will be a flat tax. steve forbes has signed on as an adviser to rick perry. and even mitt romney, who has in the past rejects a flat tax, calling it a fat tax -- a tax for fat cats, has been talking more and more favorably about a flat tax. romney already has a fat cat image problem thanks to his background as a turnaround artist at bain. this photo, by the way, take a look at the candidates posing with wads of cash during his bain capital days, continues to haunt, as it shouldn't, mr. romney. the flat tax overwhelmingly helps the wealthiest americans obviously while increasing the burden on the lower income brackets who pay less under the current progressive tax structure. what's going on here? what does it mean for the republican party? is it becoming the party of fat cats? for that, we're joined by
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democratic strategist michael feldman and republican strategist john feehery. i've got to get john in here, my friend, on the defense here. why would your party start talking basically a flat rate, whereas right now americans, when you start to make more money, you start paying 35%, 32% on the way there, 25% on the way there. people in the middle, the average brackets pay around 15%. why would the american bracket -- american people want their bracket to go up to give relief to the rich? >> that's not why, chris. why they want to get a flat tax is, a, they want a tax code that creates jobs, and b, they're sick and tired of a tax code which they think already favors the rich with all of these loopholes. they want a flat tax because it's simple, it makes sense to people, and everybody pays the same kind of percentage, which is a progressive tax rate. you know, i think what's going to end up happening if we do go to a flatter, fairer tax code, you'll have something like ronald reagan, you have three or
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four different tax levels that get rid of the loopholes and help to create jobs in this country. our tax structure is killing job creation, and everybody should agree on that. >> but that's not a flat tax. a flat tax is one rate. >> well -- >> and that's what they're talking about. they're talking about a single rate, if you make billions of dollars a year, you pay the same rough percentage, 17%, is what forbes has been talking about, as a guy making 50 or 100. do you think that's fair? is that a fair tax? >> well, listen, i think a tax code that creates jobs and has -- allows more economic growth, economic expansion, and gets rid of all these loopholes so people who are wealthy -- the problem, the tax code is currently constructed. the rich people can get accountants and find out ways not to pay their taxes. what we need is a tax code that's fair for everybody and actually creates jobs in this country. >> i'm trying to nail you down before we go to mike. do you support a flat tax, same rate for everybody? >> i support a flat tax if it will create jobs and create more
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fairness in this country, and create expansion, which it has done in eastern europe. >> okay. we want all this too, but we always want more jobs, we always want economic expansion, the question is do we want a fair tax system? >> and a flat tax will do that. >> we'll see. we'll see if the country likes that idea, but the polls show they don't. over the past few weeks, mitt romney has been talking more and more favorably about a flat tax concept. let's listen. >> i love a flat tax. my tax policy, there's a lot about a flat tax that works, but it means different things to different people. the so-called flat tax that steve forbes championed how many years ago was that? a long -- pardon? 2000. the flat tax has positive features. again, you have to look and make sure that it doesn't raise taxes on middle-income americans. it would be nice if a very simple and flat code, but what i want to make sure is any kind of tax system that's ultimately in place is one that reduces the burden on middle income americans. that's what i describe in my 59-point plan. there's some steps i take
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immediately. but then there are steps that i think down the road to flatten the tax code and to do our very best to reduce the burden on middle income americans. >> well, mike feldman, before we get to you, we should put this in perspective. keeping up with mitt romney's changes of mind requires a real historian's touch. and there you heard him say, i love the flat tax. keep that in mind, i love the flat tax. back in 1996, romney paid $50,000 for this newspaper ad, wherein he attacked the steve forbes flat tax proposal as a tax cut for fat cats, calling himself a concerned citizen. he said the flat tax was a bad idea for the republican party. it's very hard to keep up with this turning wheel called the conscience of mitt romney. mike feldman, he's flipped on abortion, on everything -- health care, everything in the world. now we see him flipping on something flat. he's no longer -- well, now he's a flat guy. he was against that. he was for a progressive tax
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system before. where do you think he'll end up? >> well, look, i think he'll continue to perform this verbal gymnastics about the flat tax, in much the same way that john had to do when you really nail somebody down. the flat tax is horrible public policy. it's why e.j. dionne wrote this morning, it's why most of the people who support it have flatlined politically, ultimately. when you look at your own tax code, as most middle class or working class americans are going to do, you kind of realize that you get run over by a flat tax. but mitt romney has a problem. the conservative base of the republican party, the energy among the nominating electorate right now is behind this idea. it sounds great. throw out the tax code, start from scratch. it's horrible public policy. mitt romney knows he's going to have to face real voters, moderate voters, independent voters in the fall, and so he's come just shy of saying, yes, i endorse a flat tax. he likes the idea of it. but at the end of the day, i think that's why he's kind of keeping his cards a little close to his vest on whether or not he'd support it. >> you know, john, you and i have similar backgrounds and
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values, i think, generally speaking. but let's get to the heart of the reality of this thing, and maybe we can reach common ground here. the average person watching this program right now, a single person may be lucky to make $40,000, $50,000, a family may make about that, according to national averages. they may be retired living on less than that. they're looking at how this tax structure would affect them if a new person gets elected president. and if mitt romney's talking about a flat tax, the same percentage tax rate for everybody, that's serious business. because that means the rich people won't pay a higher percentage than the average person out there just making a living. you think that's a fair idea in concept? >> well, right now, chris -- >> that idea? the same percentage -- >> let me answer. if you think about the concept right now about the so-called buffett rule, according to warren buffett, he's already paying less taxes than other people. what a flat tax does is have everyone pay the same percent. if you strip away all the political rhetoric and all the
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back and forth, the one thing about the flat tax, it will actually work and create jobs. and we know that because it's worked in eastern europe. it's worked in estonia and lithuania. it's worked because people know that they get a fair deal. they know what they're supposed to pay and it leads to economic expansion. and that's the one thing this country needs right now is economic expansion, not this politics of envy. >> i sure as hell hope he catch up to lithuania. i mean, john, i have to tell you, there's been a progressive tax in this country under reagan, under roosevelt, under every -- under eisenhower. >> and look what it's done. it's screwed up -- >> we've been the most successful economy in the world. right now we're having a hard time. whether you change your tax system in a difficult situation like that to go to something as flukey as the same percentage is to me a strange time to do it. anyway, i'm just trying to keep up with mitt romney. i'm not running for president, you're not, john, we're just trying to keep up with mitt romney. i'm telling you, this guy is so fast at changing his positions, you have to have a stopwatch for this guy. >> i think what mitt romney is saying is he wants a fair, flatter tax code.
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what he's probably going to get to is like i said before, something that ronald reagan came up with, three tax rates, make it fair and get rid of the loopholes because loopholes are what's killing this country. >> john feehery, we're not going to talk about loopholes, we agree we don't like them, they're fat cats. but keeping up with this guy, you need a stopwatch. you shouldn't have to wait until friday to figure out what he meant on tuesday. thank you, john feehery, thank you, michael feldman. up next, michele bachmann has got a plan on what to do with all those sick and poor people after she repeals obama care. she sounds like ebenezer scrooge before the three ghosts arrive on christmas eve. wait until you hear this! put them in a poorhouse. that's the sideshow tonight, it's got bachmann where she belongs. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc.
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back to "hardball." and now to the sideshow. first up, read between the lines. last week secretary of state hillary clinton made news for sharing some laughs with afghan president hamid karzai at the expense of gop candidate herman cain. we all remember the moment that sparked his interest. >> i'm ready for the gotcha questions. when they ask me who's the president of u-becky-becky-becky-stan-stan, i'm going to say, i don't know, do you you know? >> has clinton decided to take a backseat to the 2012 gop scene? judge for yourself. let's hear what she had to say during an interview yesterday. >> are you in herman cain's famously designated u-becky-becky-stan-stan? >> you know, there's a 0-0-0 chance that i'm going to comment on republican politics, but i am in uzbekistan. >> she may be staying
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tight-lipped on the gop race, but clinton, the secretary of state, had nothing but praise for president obama this past weekend, saying, quote, he has passed with flying colors every leadership challenge. anyway, next up, 2016, already. not a single vote has been cast for this go-round, and yet the questions already linger for what the lineup might be four years from now. well, it was vp joe biden, who got hit with the question yesterday. think the idea is far off his radar these days? maybe not. let's hear where he stands. >> i wonder when you look around, if you ever thought, hmm, four more years, 2016. have you totally ruled that out in your head? >> my one focus now is getting the president re-elected. that is the focus. i'll make up my mind on that later. i'm probably in the best shape i've been in in my life. i'm doing pretty well. i'm enjoying what i'm doing. and as long as i do, i'm going to continue to do it. >> okay, but possibility? you're not closing that door? >> i'm not closing anything.
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>> well, who knows? get past the occasional gaffe and there's real common sense here, i think. he's got his feet on the ground with the american people. don't you think? and finally, we've all heard gop candidate michele bachmann's campaign promise to, quote, end obamacare, but does anyone know what her alternative plan might be? well, here she is, and ebenezer scrooge said something very much like this before the three ghosts arrive on christmas eve. let's listen to bachmann. >> we will always have people in this country, through hardship, through no fault of their own, who won't be able to afford health care. that's just the way it is. but usually what we've had are charitable organizations or hospitals who have enough left over so that they can pick up the cost for the indigent who can't afford it. once obamacare is gone, this is what we have to do. >> this is what we have -- sounds great, doesn't it? anyway, compare this to mitt romney who stuck it to rick perry the other day for texas having a million uninsured children. three cheers for what romney
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said there. up next, president obama's had enough of a congress that just says no. he says, we can't wait. and he's pushing a plan to try to fix the economy all by himself, without congress' help. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc.
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here's what's happening. the body of moammar gadhafi is reportedly been moved from the commercial freezer it was being stored in in preparation for burial at a secret location. the u.s. recalls the syrian ambassador. a federal judge has temporarily blocked florida's controversial new law until a legal challenge makes its way through the courts.
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the prosecution has rested its case in the involuntary manslaughter trial of michael jackson's daughter. the defense team will begin presenting its witnesses next week. and netflix shares taking a beating in after-hours trading after reporting losing more than 800 thoux subscribers last quarter. back to "hardball." i'm here to say to all of you, and to say to the people of nevada and to the people of las vegas, we can't wait for an increasingly dysfunctional congress to do its job. where they won't act, i will.
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>> dysfunctional congress. welcome back to "hardball." that's president obama today out in nevada with a new approach to dealing with congress. rather than waiting for congress to act, which it hasn't, the president's rolling out a series of programs that he can enact without congressional approval. the new campaign is called "we can't wait," and its first initiative will be to help homeowners who are underwater on their mortgages. he's kicking it off in las vegas, nevada, a state with the highest foreclosure rate in the country. sam stein is a political editor for "the huffington post" and john hammas is national editor for "new york" magazine. sam, thanks for joining us. it looks like east got an initiative out here for retooling a program two years ago with little success. the change will loosen eligibility standards for refinancing, so homeowners who are more than 25% underwater are eligible for refinancing. it will eliminate some risk-based fees for borrowers. in many cases, the high cost of refinancing is keeping many homeowners from doing it.
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and it extends the program through 2013. so i don't know whether you call this nickel and dime or an important thing he can do on his own. where are you? >> so far his housing policies, the president's housing policies have fallen demonstrateably shore. so seeing any action on this is probably a good thing. that said, the independent forecast about what it would actually mean are sort of limited. you have to have had a home loan that originated with fannie or freddie or something that was certified by fannie or freddie in order to qualify for it. but, you know, this isn't really about the policies, although it will help some people. it's really about the contrast, it's about projecting the president as somebody who's taking action, especially because mitt romney, last week, was in nevada and he said that he wants the foreclosure process to play itself out without intervention. i think that's what the president's going for. him trying to do something, republicans in congress sitting on their hands, and mitt romney says let the free market do its deed. >> let's take a look at the romney bug. let mitt romney speak for himself about what he thinks, before the las vegas review journal newspaper. here's mitt romney.
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>> as to what to do for the housing industry specifically, and are there things that you can do to encourage housing. one is, don't try and stop the foreclosure process. let it run its course and hit the bottom, allow investors to buy homes, put renters in them, fix the homes up and let it turn around and come back up. the obama administration has slow-walked the foreclosure processes that have long existed, and as a result, we still have a foreclosure overhang. >> john heilemann, i have to go through a riff right now, because i think you and i cover -- so as sam does -- this incredible portrayal by the republicans by themselves. first of all, they look hot and horny for executions out in that reagan library debate. then they talk about letting the guy on the gurney die because he doesn't have health insurance. then they mock the gay soldier. then you've got bachmann out there saying, if you don't have health insurance, fine, you can go to the poorhouse. and now this guy is saying, hip, hip, hooray for foreclosures!
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this party has become a cartoon of ebenezer scrooge or worse. they play right into the president's hands, and he couldn't be weaker in terms of the economy. and they want to make him, what, are they trying to save this presidency, these guys? >> chris, there's nothing better than being on television with you when you're using the word "horny." let's start with that. >> okay, randy, better word. >> stick with horny. >> we'll stick with what you've got. it is extraordinary, and they do seem to be giving the president a gift on a lot of these issues. i'm more struck, in some ways, by how, in romney's case in particular, how totally ignorant he seems to be about the actual public policy implications of what it would mean to let the foreclosure crisis play out in a natural way. he is supposed to be the guy who has private sector experience, he's supposed to understand the private sector better than barack obama. that's supposed to be the contrast that favors him, that he actually understands how things happen and what he likes to call the real economy. there aren't very many housing experts or economic experts that
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i know of that don't think they're right now trying to figure out a way to unwind the foreclosure crisis is at the core of how to set up the united states economy for some hope of recovery in the near to medium term. i actually don't even think it's that ideological. it is part of the big deleveraging that has to happen in america for the economy to get back on its feet. and so you have people that have different kinds of proposals to try to make that happen, but there aren't that many people who think it's a healthy thing for the economy to continue to let this play out in the way that it has played out. and i find that to be a position that allows obama not just to contrast himself against romney, as romney being the scrooge, but also being someone who seems woefully out of touch with what's going on in what, again, he calls the real economy. >> especially because -- >> sam, i know -- >> -- he did it in nevada. i was going to say, especially because he did it nevada, the state that's been hit the hardest by the foreclosure crisis, it seemed bizarre to me. >> i think what the president
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was trying to do is, in effect, and also symbolically, go out there and try to help people in trouble, even if it's not with a lot of power. he's trying to help people, whereas romney keeps say laissez-faire. let the car companies die. romney's just, the heck with helping companies in trouble, and bringing it down to the lowest level, the person who can't meet their mortgage because they're underwater. let them die too, let them rent, you know. this callousness, it seems to make the president look more like a human being. >> obama has done executive orders or executive actions throughout his presidency, about 97 over the course of his presidency. but he's choosing to emphasize it now for a particular reason, he wants to be out there. he wants to seem like the one who has some solutions to offer. and coming out with these, i think he's going to announce one a week. tomorrow we're going to get one about hiring veterans. that makes him seem like someone who's doing proactive work, whereas like you said, if you're just willing to let the market
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take us where it wants, that's not exactly presidential. that's more ideological. >> yeah, you don't need a president to say, don't do anything. >> exactly. >> it doesn't take anybody. get somebody to write a novel to do that. thank you, sam stein. thank you, john heilemann. we have the president on the road, doing it himself. up next, who are those occupy wall street protesters who are demonstrating across the country? do they have real goals? let's see, because these latest polls show that in the sentiment department, the public is with them. maybe they're not clear about what they want, but the public seems to like their sentiment about inequality. this is "hardball," only on msnbc.
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jack kennedy, elusive hero, appears in bookstores next tuesday. it tells the story of the american president we americans most want to see joining washington, jefferson, lincoln, and teddy roosevelt up there on mt. rushmore. i took the title from something jacqueline kennedy said in a letter about her husband. she called him that elusive, unforgettable man. it's a big book and answers the
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question jack kennedy himself said was the reason why we read biographies to answer the question, what was he like? an old friend of president kennedy just called me and left a phone message, and said, after reading the book, it brought jack kennedy back to life. i love it. you could order the book on right now.
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we're back. there is no doubt the occupy wall street protests have ignited support around the country. it turns out a majority of americans agree with their belief. what is it about the movement that's drawing growing numbers of americans and what exactly are the protesters looking for?
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well, matt cooper is managing editor of "national journal daily" and michelle goldberg reports for "newsweek" and "the daily beast." michelle and matt, look at these numbers. i saw them in "the new york times" yesterday. they blew me away. charles blow ran through some of the numbers and it's just amazing. look at this number here. 86% of the american people say the wall street people and lobbyists have too much influence in america's national capital in washington. 86% say they have too much clout. those wall street guys. 79% say the income gap in this country is just too big between the wealthy and the other americans. 71% think bank ceos should face prosecution for the role in the 2008 crisis. and 68% want the rich to pay higher taxes. let me start with you, matt, my friend. it just seemed to strike me as gold for the elizabeth warrens of this world who's up there running for congress up against scott brown, in the senate up there in massachusetts. the idea that the consumer needs
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protection against the power of wall street lobbyists, the big shots, highly paid people down in washington, just strikes me as gold. nine out of ten people agree with the occupiers on that issue. >> well, that's right, and it's echoed in our own congressional connection poll with two-thirds of respondents saying they support protesters, two-thirds saying they support the democratic idea of the sir fax on millionaires, even a third of republicans we polled support that. people i think, chris, got so clobbered by this recession. you know, it wasn't like earlier recessions where it hit some regions harder than others and spared a few people. everybody got washed over by this tsunami. so i don't think it's that surprising if you think about it that they're pretty irate at th financial whizzes who got us into the mess. >> michelle, your thoughts on the sentiment. it's hard to define exactly what the people on the street are saying, the occupiers. there's a mix to some extent.
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the people in the country seem to know what those people want. >> right. despite all of the hand wringing about what are the demands, the location in certain ways is their demand. it's pretty obvious i think the outline, they're protesting against economic inequality, economic inequality and unchecked corporate power and corporate malfeasance. that seems to be really, really obvious to most of the people down there and most of the people watching this. you know, the tea party and kind of conservative republicans like to pretend that they represent, you know, quote/unquote ordinary americans, but that's always been a fiction. it's been a fiction that a lot of the media is complicit in. you know, ordinary americans are suffering in this recession and they want the government to help them out. >> you know, i was down in dominican republic years ago, matt and michelle and saw a country that was pretty poor, the dominican republic, if you get away from the resorts downtown.
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i went off one day one sunday morning and went to lunch and found a neighborhood with the mercedes parked outside and they were all the country's very elite people were in this little restaurant. i said, wait a minute, this country has a tenth of 1% of really wealthy people. i get the feeling like america is getting that feeling, there's a very, very small group of people living really well and they don't like the disequality of it. >> right. they don't think those wealthy people all got there like steve jobs by creating something great and earning that wealth. a lot of them feel they manipulated a financial system that gave them lots of breaks and when they screwed it up they got bailed out with their tax dollars. i think there's a lot of anger. just to go back to what michelle said, i think there is a certain amount of overlap between what the tea party wanted, wants and what the protesters do. i think both that this t.a.r.p. bailout was a mess, that the wall street types used their influence with the government to get special favors. they may disagree about raising taxes, but i think on the
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question of is wall street too powerful, you'd find a lot of agreement. >> well, i don't -- >> how do you think it's going to end up, michelle? we have to get to the end of this conversation. i'm going to use the bottom line. say the end of this year. where are we going to be in temples of the voice of the occupiers when it gets wintertime? >> the encampment, itself, is unlikely to remain the center of attention though you'll see a diehard contingent who's going to wait it out through the winter. the most important thing i think is this conversation is happening now. you know, inequality and, again, kind of rampant corporate malfeasance was something neither party was really talking about until occupy wall street forced them to talk about it. >> you know why, because they're getting too much money from these people. that's where their main money load has been. thank you so much. we have to talk more about this this fall. maybe it's more interesting than republican fight for president is what goes on with the people down there. thank you, matt cooper, thank you, michelle. great to have you on. when i return, let me get to the point we just talked about.
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the bad guys who stuck the rest of us during the financial crisis. ♪ [ female announcer ] give a little cheer to a family of a soldier. just cut out the cheer from your specially marked box of cheerios, write your message, and we'll see that they get it. [ male announcer ] that onion after taste after you again? new crest complete with scope dual blast technology blasts away bad breath germs and food after tastes. new crest complete with scope dual blast. blast your way to fresh breath.
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let me finish tonight with this -- deceit, it's one of those human behaviors everyone can get their arms around. you know when you see it, when a guy sells you a car with serious problems but makes a point not to share them with you, when some guy claims not to be
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married but is, when someone you trust shows you they know just how to take advantage of your trust. deceit. i know a great deal about politics, practically nothing about high finance. all this talk of derivatives and credit default swaps leaves me hanging. astill don't get what a hedge fund guy does or arbitrage. when i saw "margin call," a movie about good, evil and the people that get caught having to choose and people who get lorded to doing what they're threatened with losing if they don't do, i loved it. finally i could see the basic fact at what happened at lehman brothers and all the rest. i could see the choices people decided to take. i could see clearly in this movie the evil that came into being, the evil that cost this country so much in american dreams. >> but, john, if you do this, you will kill the market for years. it's over.
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and you're selling something that you know has no value. >> we are selling to willing buyers of the current fair market price. so that we may survive. >> you will never sell anything to any of those people ever again. >> i understand. >> do you? >> do you? this is it. i'm telling you, this is it. >> it came to this. were the masters of the universe going to take the hit for their overambition, their greed? or were they going to pass off the big loss to someone else, people who trusted them, the customers out there who were willing to buy what they, the selloff boys on the trading floor, were ready and willing to dump on them? knowing they were screwing them, knowing it with the total clarity of the morning. i had a hard time figuring out what was going on in too big to fail. in this brand new movie starring kevin spacey, you can see it all. you learn what it looks like. you